China, EU eye win-win at biz, tech fair

2023-06-29 09:41:57China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Attendees interact at a forum during the EU-China Business and Technology Cooperation Fair in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in 2021. (PHOTO/CHINA DAILY)

The upcoming 17th EU-China Business and Technology Cooperation Fair is expected to create more growth points for companies on both sides amid multiple challenges facing the global economy, market watchers and business executives said on Wednesday.

The fair will be held in Chengdu, the capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, from Friday to Saturday.

More than 2,000 representatives, including officials, experts, scholars and entrepreneurs from China and Europe, will engage in discussions and business activities through a blend of online and offline events.

Their interactions will focus on topics like the economic landscape, business trends in China and Europe, vocational education, the green transition and the digital economy, according to the fair's organizers.

The event will be co-hosted by the China Chamber of International Commerce and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, and co-organized by the Chengdu sub-council of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the Management Committee of Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone and the Chengdu International Chamber of Commerce.

As China and European countries have taken a number of measures to boost their job markets, foreign trade and their ability to attract foreign investment, the fair will provide a comprehensive platform for discussions on promoting in-depth cooperation in trade and investment between the two sides, said Gao Lingyun, director of the international investment division at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, which is part of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The EU-China fair will host many events, including the Summit on EU-China Cooperation in the Era of Digital Economy and the Second China-EU Geographical Indications Cooperative Conference.

Gao said these activities will facilitate constructive discussions between government officials and business leaders from both sides. The aim is to identify practical strategies for exploring new opportunities in economic and trade cooperation, particularly in light of the global supply chain dilemmas and challenges encountered by multinational companies when investing in different countries.

"While some investments have been shifted to Southeast Asia due to lower labor costs, this does not conflict with European businesses' investment strategies in China. Rather, these strategies focus on cooperation in high-tech and services sectors, matching China's vision for high-quality development," said Bai Ming, deputy director of international market research at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Seeing big opportunities in areas like carbon neutrality, high-end manufacturing and innovation-driven development, foreign direct investment from France and the United Kingdom in the Chinese mainland jumped by 429.7 percent and 179.2 percent year-on-year, respectively, in the first five months of this year, the Ministry of Commerce said.

French tire and mobility company Michelin Group has been heading into such areas. The company will add more transportation-related digital solutions and services in China this year, given the country's soaring demand for smart mobility solutions and their strategic importance.

Gary Guthrie, Michelin's senior vice-president for automotive global brands, said China's automobile market is currently witnessing a noticeable trend toward electrification and high-end vehicles. Consumer demand for environmentally friendly and sustainable options is increasing. In this era of transformation, the market requires products and services that are more competitive.

Echoing that sentiment, John Wang, president of North East Asia and senior vice-president of Signify NV, a Dutch multinational lighting company, said China is one of the fastest-growing markets in the global light-emitting diode or LED lighting industry and serves as a vital production hub with abundant talent and resource advantages.

"Our factory in Chengdu can leverage the China-Europe freight train service to facilitate efficient logistics across multiple countries and regions related to the Belt and Road Initiative. This enables us to better serve the European and global markets," said Wang.

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